Where are they now: George Rose
The term ‘cult hero’ was seemingly invented for players like George Rose.
Rose represented four Clubs across 12 seasons in the NRL, most prominently with Manly were he played 127 games before joining Storm for a one-off season in 2014.
The beloved prop pulled on the purple jersey on nine occasions that year and did the same for the Dragons the following season before announcing his retirement.
A stint as an NRL ambassador came his way in 2016 before Rose found his true calling in October of last year.
The 34-year-old took on a position as an Indigenous Community and Player Engagement Manager with the NRL, a role that he holds close to his heart.
“A big part of my role is making sure that current Indigenous players feel supported by the NRL,” Rose said.
“That is the main reason why I am doing it because it is enjoyable for me. I want to see the boys succeed, I want them to be the best they can possibly be.”
As well as working full-time, Rose is also looking to complete a commerce degree at university.
The importance of smoothly transitioning from rugby league to ‘civilian’ is not lost on the former NRL veteran.
“By players having the right advice, knowing what to do when they are playing, both on and off the field so that they are set up once they finish up rather than leaving things too late,” Rose said.
“A lot of guys who retired around my age weren’t lucky enough to have a ‘no study, no play’ rule during their junior time.
“A lot of guys are finishing with no qualifications or experience with study and work, those guys do it a lot tougher than the current crop of players who are coming into the NRL sometimes with three years of an apprenticeship or university degree under their belt.”
This weekend is a significant one for Rose as the NRL celebrates Indigenous Round.
This year’s theme is Recognise, in support for the movement to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution and ensure there is no place for racial discrimination.
“It has been great for me, I have been quite heavily involved around the planning that goes into Indigenous Round,” Rose said.
“Delivering the theme and story around Indigenous Round this year is a big part of my role.
“The fact this year is the first year that we have got all Clubs in Indigenous-themed jerseys for the one weekend, it creates that much better feel for the game and the atmosphere.”
Rose has maintained his Storm connection through the Club’s Indigenous players Will Chambers and Josh Addo-Carr.
He occasionally comes down to Melbourne to visit the players and is proud of what the pair are achieving at the highest level.
“The things that both Josh and Will are doing in Melbourne speak for themselves,” Rose said.
“Will has come a long way over his career. He is now that great, elite centre that a lot of people thought he was capable of being.
“The fact that we had five Indigenous players in the Kangaroos side on the weekend shows the quality of the players we have coming through. There are so many great young players still to come. Last year we had 13 Indigenous players debut and Josh Addo-Carr was one of those.
“To see Josh back up this year and show the quality he has shown, hopefully there is a big representative future for him as well and I think he is in the right environment to do that.”